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How the construction industry is taking action on racism to build safe and inclusive job sites

Declaration banner at an EllisDon jobsite
Declaration banner at an EllisDon jobsite at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto’s east end.

Today, developers, contractors, unions, associations, and workers are uniting in a growing coalition supporting the Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities. Systemic racism and discrimination harm the construction industry. The Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces & Communities commits to standing up for the rights and dignity of all to promote inclusive, equitable, safe, and respectful workplaces. 

The affirmations in this declaration further the principles of inclusion supported by both the City of Toronto and the unions and employers in the construction industry. To demonstrate its support for this declaration and to uphold diversity, the City of Toronto affirms this declaration, and encourages those in the construction industry across the province to continue denouncing discrimination and hate in all its forms. 

"As Mayor, I have made it clear that racism and discrimination have no place in Toronto. We have met with workers, developers, contractors, unions, and associations to create this Declaration and take a stand together against any form of hatred in our city. This past year, when nooses were found on construction sites in Toronto, we recognized the tragic reality that anti-Black racism continues to exist in our society and that we need to keep doing all we can to bring an end to it," said Toronto Mayor John Tory. "We worked together with the industry to find ways to bring an end to racism within the sector. This Declaration was a result of those meetings and an important step in the industry's plan to move forward, support their employees, and to build a more inclusive workplace for everyone."

Many employers in the construction industry have not just signed on to this declaration but are taking further action to educate their members about the importance of eliminating racism and discrimination in the industry. EllisDon has hosted diversity and inclusion town halls to discuss these crucial issues with employees, and Daniels has organized site meetings with construction teams to solidify the importance of creating inclusive workplaces and to reiterate that there is zero tolerance for discrimination on job sites.

"EllisDon has zero tolerance for racism, and as an employer, we have a pivotal role to play in this movement. We will continue to work closely with our union partners to promote education and action across all areas of our industry," said Geoff Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of EllisDon. 

"I love being a carpenter, and I am proud to be part of an industry that understands the importance of inclusivity and takes the necessary steps to ensure diversity is celebrated every day," says Rokhaya Gueye, CDCO member.

In the last year, the construction industry - employers and union partners - have been actively speaking out against racism and hate in all its forms and promoting inclusion and diversity on worksites.

In the last year:

  • The CDCO appointed Chris Campbell as Equity and Diversity Representative. He works to propel the organization forward and continue to advocate for ending workplace discrimination in the construction industry. 
  • The CDCO shared member-focused video content celebrating Black History Month, with BIPOC members of the industry expressing what this month means to them. 
  • EllisDon has appointed Jennifer Khan as the Head of Inclusive Diversity, as well as established the Alliance of Black Employee Experience and Leadership (ABEEL) led by engineer Samuel Ajobo. 
  • Daniels cohosted a virtual town hall in Regent Park to share updates and actions in response to the hate crime on a Daniels construction site. RESCON, Carpenters' Local 27 and LiUNA Local 183 participated in the town hall to engage directly with community stakeholders on broader industry actions against racism and discrimination.

Company info

1004 Middlegate Road
Mississauga, ON
CA, L4Y 1M4

Website:
ellisdon.com

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